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Daze of My Life/The Cold, Hard Feelings

by Kenneth B. Lourie

I scream; you scream; my wife, Dina screams, because she claims all I ever buy is ice cream. Itís not my fault, though. The ice cream manufacturers have found my hot button, and boy, are they pressing it!

I will admit I really canít control myself: pints, quarts, half-gallons, novelties; occasionally low-fat or low-sugar, but more often than not, itís the high-calorie, high-milk fat, chocolate-type ice cream that I so diligently stock and stack in our freezer. Iím not anal about it, however. The pints are not all shelved according to purchase dates any more than the half-gallons are arranged alphabetically. Itís fairly random, although I do utilize the space in my freezer extremely efficiently, such that the volume and variety of these frozen delicacies do not block access to the more necessary products - meat, chicken, frozen TV dinners, vegetables, orange juice, bagels, pizza and cold packs - typically stored at 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fortunately we have a 27-cubic foot refrigerator/freezer, so we have ample storage space for such (over)expenditures. Or at least thatís how I explain it to Dina. Another tale I tell, which is not completely wrong, is that buying quality in quantity when the quality is sale-priced and coupons are utilized is also an excellent way to have your cake, or in this case, ice cream (although I am interested in cake as well), and eat it too. If only there was a way to blunt the impact of consuming so many confectionery calories. But given the flavorful enticements that Ben&Jerryís, Edyís, Breyerís, Haagen Dazs, Godiva and Nestle, as but a few primary examples, have created, how can oneís will power not melt under the potential taste sensations being marketed? So many flavors include ingredients found in the candy and/or cookie aisles that consumers are already snacking on that resistance becomes almost futile. If you donít love a certain brand of ice cream but that brand is the one including M&Ms or chocolate-chip cookie dough or caramel-covered pecans or Reeseís peanut butter cups or an endless array of bite-size favorites in their flavors, youíre almost compelled to try it, at least once, out of familiarity, if nothing else.

Practically speaking, how could you not like the flavor if some of the magic added ingredients were Heath Bars, Twix Bars, Oreo cookies, etc., that youíve loved ever since you can remember? You canít! And thatís the problem. (Or maybe itís just my problem.) The combinations that have been created (and marketed) motivate you to buy and buy again, whether youíre hemming or hawing. It must be like fighting a two-front war when you only have the capacity to defend one front. The ice cream manufacturers have decided to outflank the consumer and overwhelm his taste-budding defenses by appealing to whatever kind of sweet tooth he has. And for those of us who have sweet teeth and a large-capacity refrigerator/freezer to fill, we have seen the enemy - and it is ourselves. But what can we do? Though I may seem to blame the ice-creamers who manufacture these frozen fantasies, I do realize that the responsibility ultimately falls on me. Theyíre not exactly holding a gun to my head - more like a pint of Ben&Jerryís Super Fudge Chunk - but sometimes, it sure feels like it.

Lourie is a regionally syndicated columnist who resides in Burtonsville, MD.

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